If only you’d said it more sweetly


Huh. Surprised again. Always being surprised. I saw a post by Hemant titled Why is Richard Dawkins Doubling Down on His Previous Statements? I thought it was a post about Dawkins’s previous statements and his new statements in which he says even worse things. I thought it was Hemant finally seeing the problem.

Silly me. Of course not. It turns out to be Hemant saying it’s our fault.

That wasn’t immediately apparent. It wasn’t apparent from this:

In an interview with reporter Kimberly Winston, Dawkins stood by the really frustrating and tone-deaf remarks he’s made over the past year on Twitter (and even before that, in other venues). It was pretty obvious from his remarks that none of the criticism leveraged at him has sunk in. And those of us who still appreciate his books — count me in that mix — are left trying to figure out what the hell to make of all this.

But then we get to his real point:

I also think he’s used to more formal debates where, if you disagree with someone, you respond with a calm rebuttal. Turns out the online world doesn’t work that way. So all he sees are vilifications of his character — the same tactics used by his lifelong opponents — and that just convinces him that he’s been right all along. No wonder he doubled down on his statements. It’s a lot easier to change your mind privately, where you’re not subject to humiliation and being portrayed as the bad guy. When you’re attacked publicly, as is usually the case with him, you become more defensive.

I can tell you that if I were criticized in the way I’ve seen Dawkins criticized — with flippant sarcasm, or over-the-top outrage, or having my own words twisted in a way I never intended — I probably wouldn’t change my mind, either. I’d just get angry at the people who refuse to give me the benefit of the doubt and who seem hell-bent on discrediting me. That’s not to say the critics aren’t justified (or right), but that it just wouldn’t be an effective way to get through to me. There’s an art to telling people they’re wrong in a way that’ll get through to them — I know some teachers who are experts at it — and the Internet is where that skill goes to die.

We kidnapped the Lindbergh baby, too.

Comments

  1. Blanche Quizno says

    I can tell you that if I were criticized in the way I’ve seen Dawkins criticized — with flippant sarcasm, or over-the-top outrage, or having my own words twisted in a way I never intended — I probably wouldn’t change my mind, either. I’d just get angry at the people who refuse to give me the benefit of the doubt and who seem hell-bent on discrediting me. That’s not to say the critics aren’t justified (or right), but that it just wouldn’t be an effective way to get through to me. There’s an art to telling people they’re wrong in a way that’ll get through to them — I know some teachers who are experts at it — and the Internet is where that skill goes to die.

    Doesn’t Hemant understand about Vulcan logic?? How can ANY response evoke such a strong emotional reaction in someone whose method is logic-based? I mean, if you react to ANYTHING emotionally, you don’t deserve to be acknowledged – isn’t that the going rule now?

  2. screechymonkey says

    Yep, it’s such a shame that this all began when poor Professor Dawkins provided a scholarly thesis on the relative priorities of feminist concerns, and was greeted with “flippant sarcasm” and never given a chance to explain his views further.

    Oh, wait, no. He posted “Dear Muslima” — a case study in flippant sarcasm — and the initial response of other Pharyngula commenters was some combination of (1) that can’t be the real Richard Dawkins, and (2) if it is, he can’t possibly mean to say what it looks like he’s saying. Only after PZ confirmed that it was really him and Dawkins doubled down on his comments did the harsh criticism begin in earnest.

  3. themadtapper says

    Like I said in another thread, if Hemant recognizes that Dawkins is wrong in what he’s blabbing and needs to be corrected/educated, then why isn’t Hemant bothering to do that instead of taking jabs at everyone else?

  4. Anthony K says

    I also think he’s used to more formal debates where, if you disagree with someone, you respond with a calm rebuttal. Turns out the online world doesn’t work that way. So all he sees are vilifications of his character — the same tactics used by his lifelong opponents — and that just convinces him that he’s been right all along. No wonder he doubled down on his statements. It’s a lot easier to change your mind privately, where you’re not subject to humiliation and being portrayed as the bad guy. When you’re attacked publicly, as is usually the case with him, you become more defensive.

    I can tell you that if I were criticized in the way I’ve seen Dawkins criticized — with flippant sarcasm, or over-the-top outrage, or having my own words twisted in a way I never intended — I probably wouldn’t change my mind, either. I’d just get angry at the people who refuse to give me the benefit of the doubt and who seem hell-bent on discrediting me. That’s not to say the critics aren’t justified (or right), but that it just wouldn’t be an effective way to get through to me. There’s an art to telling people they’re wrong in a way that’ll get through to them — I know some teachers who are experts at it — and the Internet is where that skill goes to die.

    Please tell me the next paragraph begins with something like “Of course, Dawkins should be familiar with these tactics, since he uses them against his opponents, particularly religious ones—flippant sarcasm, or over-the-top outrage, twisting their own words in ways they never intended, which is probably why atheists are trusted by the public as much as (non-famous) rapists are.”

    I’m sure he doesn’t though. Does he give examples of Dawkins’ words being twisted? Or is that one of those things atheists are supposed just take as an article of faith?

  5. Anthony K says

    Like I said in another thread, if Hemant recognizes that Dawkins is wrong in what he’s blabbing and needs to be corrected/educated, then why isn’t Hemant bothering to do that instead of taking jabs at everyone else?

    It’s one of those divine miracles, like transubstantiation, but for atheists. Amen.

  6. Donnie says

    So, Hemant just admitted that Richard is not a skeptic – open to changing his mind when presented with new information. Richard will not sit down, shut up, and listen to criticism in an attempt to understand why people are upset with his comments. Well, maybe if delivered by Richard’s fanbois and fangrls justifying Richard’s hurt fee-fees about those mean-SJWs.

  7. Anthony K says

    Besides, “Ur doin it rong” has always been Hemant’s shtick, hasn’t it? Wasn’t he on that side in the accommodationist wars?

  8. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Maybe if ya’ll offered the Dawk a nice sammich to go with the sarcasm, he would be more accepting, and allow you an audience. Just try not to get to emotional and all…..

  9. komarov says

    Hasn’t ridiculing the opposition in the past been extolled as literally the only way forward with the religious? This always was particularly true where creationists were concerned since they lend themselves supremely well to ridicule.

    I’m fairly sure that Hermant Mehta should be familiar with this even though he may be the ‘Friendly Atheist’. As for Dawkins, no question. But turnabout is fair play even when it stings. Being such a rational and unemotional deep thinker he should have realised he’s being consistently ridiculed (Oh no, sarcasm!) for his remarks on feminism and this should have led to a careful re-examination of his ideas. Of course that’s not exactly how it went with the creationists either.

    Oh well, the unemotional rationalist is feeling muzzled and very upset right now. Maybe the logic and (genuine) reflection are yet to come. I’d cross my fingers but that would be a show of unwarranted optimism at this point.

  10. Anthony K says

    Hasn’t ridiculing the opposition in the past been extolled as literally the only way forward with the religious? This always was particularly true where creationists were concerned since they lend themselves supremely well to ridicule.

    The atheist movement has one set of rules for itself and one set of rules for everyone else. It’s hard to argue against the general public’s lack of trust in atheists when they’re so blatantly and tribalistically hypocritical.

  11. Morgan says

    This suggests that either no one is trying to explain to Dawkins what the problems with his behaviour are in a patient, measured way – which, if it’s true now, is only because the people who were trying have given up in exasperation – or that Dawkins can’t hear such people if others are expressing their irritation with him, which doesn’t speak well to his, well, character. The reason people aren’t giving him the benefit of the doubt is that he’s pissed it away already. It’s not the responsibility of the people he’s angering to be patient with him (though many have tried nonetheless). It’s his responsibility to recognize the problems with his behaviour.

    And of course, yes, if the problem in Hemant’s eyes is that Dawkins is wrong but can’t process the criticism he’s receiving because of its tone, surely the sensible thing to do is to take a different approach himself. Telling others to change their approach only makes sense if the only way to get through to Dawkins is for no one anywhere to be loudly angry with him any more, in which case he’s simply not worth the cost of trying to reach.

  12. says

    I used to post on the Dawkins forum, and saw him in action when he’d drop into a thread at times. He was a schmuck whose primary method was declarations “supported” by a don’t you know who I am. Incredibly unimpressive (he should’ve just stayed away from the forum discussions about science). It was also that attitude of not being willing to listen to people, such as many of the (volunteer) moderators there, that ended up destroying the forum due to his reliance on someone he was warned was untrustworthy and doing a lousy job technically. That also cost him money later when it turned out that person was not only a vindictive screwup, but was embezzling.

    Dawkins has done some good things, but as a human being he’s not much to write home about. Doing some good stuff really isn’t enough (Bill Cosby was a terrific comedian and great on I Spy.. who’d want him anywhere near their daughter?).

  13. doublereed says

    What’s the solution, then? The simple one would be to have someone Dawkins trusts sit him down privately and explain why his statements rub some people the wrong way and why he ought to be more thoughtful when he talks about these subjects (or convince him to just keep his mouth shut in these situations). I don’t know if he has anyone like that in his life — who feels that way and whom he respects.

    There is plenty of reason to think that this has already happened. These are not just public things he’s said, but also reasonably personal things he’s said. There’s no reason to think that he hasn’t discussed these with close friends and allies.

    The fact is that, if anything, the community has been more than patient with Dawkins. They’ve explained to him in literally every way they can. Politely, sarcastically, step-by-step, congenially, aggressively, condescendingly, comically, etc. etc. He’s not listening, and at this point there’s no reason to think that he will in the future.

  14. says

    I unfollowed him on Facebook after reading it yesterday. It was pathetic to say that his critics’ tone are the problem; If they only reasoned on Dawkins’ superior, professional level, he would understand. Hemant has no problem saying sarcastic stuff about Depak, though (in the same article)

    criticized — with flippant sarcasm, or over-the-top outrage, or having my own words twisted in a way I never intended — I probably wouldn’t change my mind, either.

    He must have forgotten about people who interpret his words exactly in the way it was meant. But, that would make Hemant’s point harder to make.

    *Don’t read the comment section on his blog post if you take BP issues.

  15. dshetty says

    While I think Hemant’s approach wont work in this case (and I believe some have already tried – Carolyn Porco’s tweet exchange with Dawkins for “pompous idiots” for e.g. more or less reveals Dawkins thinking – I will take down the tweet out of respect for you but I wont listen to a word you said) – I do think you are reading Hemant far more uncharitably – fwiw.

    As an example – I think a decade ago , I’d still say I’m a feminist but my definition of feminist would be close to supports equal rights and opportunity only. So while I’d never dream of discriminating against anyone – I would find a joke like “women’s resumes should come with photographs for shortlisting” as funny and would (and did) laugh along with the other guys.
    In hindsight , yes my behavior is sexist , and yes I was part of the culture who went along with a joke that the really important thing about a woman is her looks. if someone had patiently tried to educate me , I would have probably responded similar to Dawkins – I am a feminist, I have never discriminated against women, I dont support discrimination and what the heck is the harm with a few guy jokes? If the response to that is somewhat along the lines of some of the comments i see(some not all) – I feel I would have concluded these feminists are a bunch of humorless idiots. And from that point onwards who knows – maybe I would have ended up a thunderfoot fan.(shudder)
    But life didnt play out that way – luckily I read various things, your blog included , which I never felt attacked *me* personally – so i was never defensive -and over time , a bunch of my views changed. If change is indeed our goal , then I think we do need to take a look at what we say and about whom.
    Dawkins seems to far gone – but maybe Hemant isn’t.

  16. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    I had a roommate once who was dating a married man. She told me once that his wife was awful. That’s why he cheated. The wife often “psychologically manipulated” him into hitting her. My roommate loved and supported him unquestioningly. She hated the wife who made her lover do shameful things.

    For some reason, I was reminded of her when I read this post.

  17. says

    In the past “Accommodationist Wars” Mehta was in the Accommodationist side wasn’t he? He’s consistent at least. It’s ironic to see somebody totally non-accommodationist confrontational as Dawkins is, been defended in such a way though.

  18. BeyondUnderstanding says

    Just goes to show the mental gymnastics people will perform to keep their leaders on that pedestal. Good grief, what’s next? “He’s an old man! He’s confused!”

  19. smhll says

    I kind of suspect that the problem is not that we aren’t more patient, patient, patient, but that we aren’t more reverent, reverent, reverent towards Dawkins.
    (Argggghhh.)

  20. PatrickG says

    @ Blake Stacey:

    Aren’t we a few years past the point where assuming he could be reached by rational argument was at all warranted?

    Hemant would certainly seem to think so, given his statements in that article. To further illustrate Donnie’s comment at #6, here are some choice pieces that clearly indicate that the FTBorg have gotten to him:

    Just because he’s an expert in some areas doesn’t make him an expert in everything. But that hasn’t stopped him from offering his opinion, anyway. That’s the problem. He thinks he speaks for all rational people on those subjects… and that makes the people who disagree with him (in his mind) automatically irrational.

    So all he sees are vilifications of his character — the same tactics used by his lifelong opponents — and that just convinces him that he’s been right all along. No wonder he doubled down on his statements.

    He just lives in a bubble and doesn’t realize it. He’s the Jaden Smith of the atheist world

    On behalf of Dawkins… ouch. :) Reads like the comments on a thread here.

    Of course, after conceding that Dawkins Can’t Think Rationally, Mehta goes off into the weeds with the argument that it’s everyone else’s job to respect the bubble and lack of critical thinking skills. We really have no choice — we have to — because Dawkins had his feelings hurt and now he’s just defensively lashing out. We can’t blame him — it’s just that the man can’t stop being so emotional. And isn’t that really our fault for being so mean to the poor guy?

    The above is clearly a message written in blinking neon letters to the Dawkins Fan Club. The comments section there is full of people outraged — OUTRAGED — that Mehta would pan Dawkins’ ability to reason. Because he is TOO right, you know! He is TOO logical. He’s just too smart for everyone else!

    I burned out once they started relitigating coffee invitations and just how bad date rape really is, but i’m darkly amused at the staggering levels of WAAAAAAAAHHHH going on over there. If Mehta thought he was successfully threading a needle there…

    @ Anthony K:

    Does he give examples of Dawkins’ words being twisted?

    Not a one.

  21. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    Silly Hemant.

    1. One can’t say that it’s understandable that Dawkins would not respond to emotional language and sarcasm when the emotional impact of what prompted the criticism is not addressed. Hemnant basically admitted that he did not even look. This is basically arguing that he and Dawkins can’t be proportionally responded to in terms consistent with the level of outrage.
    “No, you can’t have effective social tools. Cause ‘reasons’.”

    2. Not everyone did respond to Dawkins with sarcasm and emotional language. Did Hemant look to see what he had to say to those people? (Answer, no answer or evasion of the substance of the criticism). Note that this is technically not a “Not all X” since I think that there was nothing wrong with the response in the first place.
    “I’m just going to assume that because some people criticized Dawkins in ways I don’t like, that they all did.”

    3. That Dawkins is an authority figure matters. We have social instincts there and one of those is to react against authority figures more strongly precisely because authorities do more damage when they screw up. So they get stronger social consequences. It’s harsh but it’s a feature, not a bug. There need to be strong consequences to screwing up as a leader. A lack of this is one reason why government and business sucks as much as it does. Hemant recognizes the social isolation that often (but not necessarily) comes with leadership, but ignore the amplification of social effect because he is a leader.
    Connected to this is the fact that as a socially isolated leader a great response is needed for him to understand that he has anything to think about in private. Why do you think that politicians go to such lengths to control where protests are? Why do you think there is the contradiction of a supreme court that says you can’t prevent protestors from being outside of an abortion clinics door, but there are not protests allowed near the supreme court. We need volume and intensity.
    “I’ll just pretend that Dawkins is like everyone else and ignore his social context.”

  22. drken says

    Bullshit. He apologized for his “mild pedophilia” comment. Somehow he was able to take criticism and admit his mistake then. Of course, if you go around telling people that some forms of pedophilia aren’t so bad, you’ll end up persona non-grata in polite society. But since you can get in more trouble defending feminists than you can offending them, he’s free to double down on whatever offensive and ignorant thing he’s said secure in the knowledge that he’ll have a long line of people standing behind him to argue how irrational feminists are for daring to question him.

  23. Kevin Kehres says

    Let’s compare, shall we?

    Case 1: Guy gets called out for wearing a sexist shirt on national TV. Guy apologizes the first chance he gets. Case closed.

    Case 2: Guy gets called out for saying “girls don’t do thinky”. Guy gets upset, doubles down because he has a mother, and rails furiously against those who dared to criticize him. Dozens of his pals rush to defend his right to say “girls don’t do thinky”. Critics are villianized as feminazis who are trying to bring down the entire movement. A brand new round of harassment against uppity women who DARE point out that “girls don’t do thinky” is a sexist remark. Guys who point out that “girls don’t do thinky” is a sexist remark mainly get a pass, other than snide remarks and schoolmarm lecturing by someone with an Irish accent who thinks it’s all an American problem.

    Did I get that right?

  24. karmacat says

    I still can’t get over the fact that he said being groped at the water cooler is not something to complain about. He should be mocked for that statement alone. Is he really saying it is okay to sexually assault someone?

  25. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    Aren’t we a few years past the point where assuming he could be reached by rational argument was at all warranted?

    Yes, but that is the fault of the people who told him he was wrong. They weren’t butt-kissy enough and it broke him, poor man.

  26. Anthony K says

    Is he really saying it is okay to sexually assault someone?

    No, no, no, no! Saying X is worse than Y is not the same as saying Y is okay. He’s just saying that as long as X exists, you shouldn’t say that Y is bad.

    Fortunately for Richard Dawkins, ISIS is less bad than being misunderstood.

  27. Hj Hornbeck says

    To underline PatrickG’s point:

    In an interview with reporter Kimberly Winston, Dawkins stood by the really frustrating and tone-deaf remarks he’s made over the past year on Twitter (and even before that, in other venues). It was pretty obvious from his remarks that none of the criticism leveraged at him has sunk in. […]

    The biggest question I’m trying to sort out is how someone I consider brilliant could be so callous and indifferent in the way he handles some very sensitive issues. […]

    Part of the answer, I think, is that Dawkins, just like Jaden and Willow, has lived in a completely different world from the rest of us for so long. He’s been a global celebrity for most of his life. For the past few decades, just about everyone who’s ever approached him has asked him questions about issues like evolution and religion and science — not privilege and feminism and sexual abuse. As a Dawkins fan, I wish he was as eloquent on those latter issues as he is on the former, but maybe that’s too much to expect. […]

    Sure, some of his comments have been blown wildly out of proportion — as is always the case when a celebrity says something regrettable — but he’s not without fault. He just lives in a bubble and doesn’t realize it. […]

    If Dawkins is wrong, then by all means, they should push back. Some of the things he’s said has made me cringe, and I consider myself pretty immune to being offended. […]

    Part of the reason Dawkins’ defenses are up is that he really does believe he’s on the right side of these issues and the people who are supposed to support him don’t seem to give a damn about that. […]

    But that also means none of us — who don’t know the guy in real life and who can only attempt to communicate with him impersonally (and therefore ineffectively) over the Internet — are going to change his mind anytime soon.

    If my friends and supporters started writing things like that about me, I’d seriously evaluate my life choices. But Metha isn’t content to bash Dawkins, oh no:

    But I wonder whether the critics actually want to change his mind rather than just appease their reading audiences, because if they did, they might try a different approach.

    Ophelia Benson, I hereby request that you deliver Poland to me. Overnight courier, if possible.

  28. Crimson Clupeidae says

    It’s hard to argue against the general public’s lack of trust in atheists when they’re so blatantly and tribalistically hypocritical.

    I’m not so sure about this. If hypocrisy and tribalism were the main reason for the widespread maligning of atheism, then if there were any consistency, all those people would feel the same way about religion as well (which, bad as atheism is, religion is in most ways, still worse).

    No, the irony is that tribalism and hypocrisy are the reasons atheism is so maligned, but it’s tribalism on the religionists part more so than ours.

  29. Al Dente says

    The problem is people are saying that Dawkins doesn’t do thinky. He’s Professor Emeritus of Science Thinky at Oxford. He has a DSc in scientific thinky. He’s a fellow, er, excuse me, Fellow of the Royal Thinky Society. Anyone who thinks Dawkins doesn’t do thinky is failing to realize that DAWKINS IS THINKY!1!! Anyone who disagrees with Richard Thinky Dawkins is anti-thinky because…well…just because.

  30. Donnie says

    Hemant actually said this?

    But I wonder whether the critics actually want to change his mind rather than just appease their reading audiences, because if they did, they might try a different approach.

    I think Hemant has been outsourcing too much of the writing on his blog and is out of practice? Because I wonder if Hemant just wrote that statement to appease his reading audience. And, if that is so, I glad that I stopped reading the Friendly Atheist when he started outsourcing the content of his blog, because I would not want to be part of that online community.

  31. Donnie says

    ……part of that online community that supports Richard’s and tries to justify Richard’s doubling down. Readers read blog where they feel included (i.e., a community). The online community is such because the community, for the most part, agrees with the underlying philosophy of the content of the blog.

    Hemant has been at blogging long enough to know this, and I am amazed at his twisting, turning, convulsions in order to reconcile Richard’s statements and actions with the Friendly Atheist’s online community.

  32. says

    Quoting karmacat (November 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm),

    I still can’t get over the fact that he said being groped at the water cooler is not something to complain about. He should be mocked for that statement alone. Is he really saying it is okay to sexually assault someone?

    I said on one of the earlier threads (How to rank?), that Dawkins plays this comparative game where sometimes he considers both things bad, or implies that one of the two is ‘zero bad’, but then doesn’t take that idea to the obvious conclusion of suggesting that something should necessarily be done about them. This is both hypocritical, and a rather transparent silencing mechanism – inferentially it reads ‘I wasn’t saying we shouldn’t do something about that problem (but if you understand what I consider zero bad, then you shouldn’t bother about that thing).’ It’s a lazy cop out.

    Case A: ‘Dear Muslima’ was all about mocking the complaints about the ‘less bad’, which he actually considered to in fact be ‘zero bad’. (Feminists, shut up about being sexually harassed or assaulted in the Western world.)

    Case B: ‘Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.’ (Dawkins actually did suggest ‘mild pedophilia’ was less important to treat as a criminal matter, and received enough criticism that he backed down.)

    Whatever the facts of the cases are that looks like an encouragement to do nothing about the lesser evil on the one hand (A), or treating them both as problems on the other (B).

  33. says

    I also think he’s used to more formal debates

    Then fuckwit should be able to instantly and clearly recognize when he is not a participant in a formal debate. Also, one should have better and defensible ideas when bringing them to a formal debate, if that is how he is thinking. And he should adopt a formal, rather than douchebag-in-a-locker-room tone, style, verbiage, and thought, when if he thinks he’s having a formal debate. For someone who has self-promoted in various venues, including the internet, for such a long time, dude does not know where his towel is.

    Apologists should rather explain netter positions and/or defend better people, rather than mansplain and abet such thorough illogical and unethical douchebaggery.

  34. sigurd jorsalfar says

    I also think he’s used to more formal debates where, if you disagree with someone, you respond with a calm rebuttal.

    Wait, what? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Dawkins himself state the reason he won’t debate William Lane Craig is that formal debate is far too heavily biased toward ‘professional debaters’ like Craig and not enough geared toward getting at the truth. His fans have always thought that was a very good excuse for avoiding Craig. But now alluva sudden his fans expect us to believe that Dawkins’ can’t help saying the stupid shit he says, because he’s a professional debater? The mind boggles.

  35. says

    Dawkins is way less thinky than me, and it shows. Also, if you reject a position and adopt the opposite one when people are rude to you, you never really supported the original position in the first place.

    The “Friendly” Atheist is anything but. He’s a bootlicking asshole, and he isn’t doing Dawkins any favors either. Describing Dawkins as a spoiled man-child who sticks his fingers in his ears and screams unless you kiss his ass sufficiently isn’t a flattering portrayal… although it seems to be pretty accurate.

  36. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    I’d love to see Dawkins debate Ophelia about this on stage, caught on camera, where he can’t weasel his way out of stating his position with clarity and has to defend his positions with facts. Hell, that should be a pay per view event.

  37. says

    Mehta: “We don’t have to listen to you because you’re not polite! La, la, la, I can’t hear you!”

    And that is someone who claims to be taking the high road?

    Insults and profanity may not win any arguments, but “bad language” is a pathetic excuse to use for avoiding the issue being discussed, to avoid answering questions being asked. From what I’ve seen, those aiming vitriol at Dawkins now were polite , and were ignored. Meanwhile, Dawkins remains oblivious inside his (increasingly) ivory-coloured tower.

    Instead of asking why people are angry at Dawkins and his ilk, Mehta should be asking Dawkins why he has no clue as to why he’s wrong, why Dawkins didn’t answer when people were polite.

  38. sonofrojblake says

    Just goes to show the mental gymnastics people will perform to keep their leaders on that pedestal. Good grief, what’s next? “He’s an old man! He’s confused!”

    In 3…2…1…

  39. says

    Wait. I thought atheist dudebros were super-rational and only care about things by order of magnitude of objective mattering, while SJWs and feminazis are all hyper-reactionary people who want their subjective feelings of offense enforced by totalitarian law. But now Dawkins is so offended by mild snark that he doubles down even on things he’s admitted being wrong about, while SJWs are irrationally failing to consider feelings when they think a preeminent science popularizer with a reputation for being a blunt firebrand could see past harsh language to the actual arguments and evidence?

    Oh right, I forgot the motto draped above the Dudebro Defense League crest: “The only thing better than a standard is a double-standard.”

    @Anthony K:

    Besides, “Ur doin it rong” has always been Hemant’s shtick, hasn’t it? Wasn’t he on that side in the accommodationist wars?

    I think Hemant played center field on that one. IIRC, he later did a “not so friendly anymore” post where he announced a change in tactics, or somesuch, that was pretty firebrand-friendly. If anything, Hemant’s always been the “the answer’s in the middle somewhere” guy, and late to the game on everything else, but his continued harboring/promotion of libertarian/conservative bigot/asshole Terry Firma doesn’t do much to endear him these days, nor do his blundering forays into the Deep Rifts.

    As to the Accommodationist Wars, it’s continuously interesting to me to see that the battle lines are largely the same now as they were then, except the one side that used to be all “we need to be nice and hide the atheists so we can attract and accommodate religious skeptics” is now “fuck SJWs and minorities, if you can’t take the slurs, stay out of the bigot kitchen!” The only major shifts have been Abbie Smith and Jerry Coyne, and arguably Phil Plait, and I only really remember Jerry being involved toward the end of the conflict. In a way that is, perhaps, largely unsurprising, it seems that the Accommodationists were less concerned about making religious believers more comfortable and more about opposing whatever PZ and Ophelia said.

  40. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    Meanwhile Dawkins is still retweeting things like this:

    Richard Dawkins retweeted
    Andy. @secularandy · Nov 20
    @RichardDawkins Why is this not on worldwide news instead of a story about an “offensive” shirt! I’m offended by sickening acts like this!!!

    That’s in response to an honor killing. How dare we talk about anything else? He’s using one woman’s murder to shut up other women. What a class act. Meanwhile Dawkins continues to talk about whatever the fuck he likes and not all of it or even most of it is about the plight of the only women he thinks can complain about misogyny.

    He also retweets:

    reason @reason · Nov 17
    Liberal Feminists, Stop Smearing Critics As Rape Apologists http://bit.ly/1ye9rv7

    The title is an outright lie and it does not get better from there.

    Richard Dawkins retweeted
    Mollie @MZHemingway · Nov 17
    That’s it. Enough already. Enough. Whether we want to or not, we have to deal with our feminist bullying problem.
    http://thefederalist.com/2014/11/17/its-time-to-push-back-against-feminist-bullies/#disqus_thread

    Richard Dawkins retweeted
    Miranda Celeste Hale @mirandachale · Nov 17
    Spot-on. @MZHemingway nails it here: “It’s Time To Push Back Against Feminist Bullies” http://bit.ly/1HbdtKP

    We’re the bullies and there needs to be MORE pushback. Because women just are not getting enough death threats to shut them up.

    The Fedralist’s other articles are mostly about the evils of Pres. Obama and there is one on the front page about how hard it is to dress your daughter modestly in which the writer complains that her three year old’s clothing choices are too slutty. I shit you not.

    Richard Dawkins retweeted
    Lauren #3601 @JustLaurenB · Nov 17
    .@RichardDawkins Would you kindly RT this in support of the fundraiser for Dr. Matt Taylor please?
    https://twitter.com/JustLaurenB/status/534313029241143296?s=

    Again, abuse? I can’t even…

    Nuggent is still insisting that PZ Myers apologize him and he understands that PZ does not want anything to do with him. He seems to be proud that he is ignoring PZ’s boundries.

    Michael Nugent
    ‏@micknugent
    .@pzmyers, how is your “the end of the @micknugent saga” announcement of 3 weeks ago working out for you? Please apologise for your smears.

    If you think that’s shitty, try reading his blog post about PZ being just as sexist as the people he calls out for sexism. Which Nugent declares to be not at all sexist, but still manages to distort the truth like a cheap rug in order to paint PZ as a hypocrite.

    Think he can’t get shittier? Wrong again! Go take a gander, if you are so inclined at his post about cyber bullying. Make sure to have a barf bag at the ready.

    Guess who he’s casting as cyber bullies who should only share their anger with close personal friends? No, really. Guess.

    There is no nice enough. These men are unrepentant sexist douchebags.

    Again, the targets of death and rape threats are cast as the bullies and the people doing the harassing and threatening are cast as their victims.

  41. says

    I also think he’s used to more formal debates where, if you disagree with someone, you respond with a calm rebuttal. Turns out the online world doesn’t work that way.

    How about “turns out women being told our rapes, our assaults, are trivial, aren’t going to respond like it’s some hypothetical that doesn’t affect anyone in real life.”

    Never thought Hemant lived up to his Friendly Atheist moniker; he always struck me as a douchebag, and now turns out he’s just another fucking misogynist defending his cohorts.

    Anthony K @4

    Please tell me the next paragraph begins with something like “Of course, Dawkins should be familiar with these tactics, since he uses them against his opponents, particularly religious ones—flippant sarcasm, or over-the-top outrage, twisting their own words in ways they never intended, which is probably why atheists are trusted by the public as much as (non-famous) rapists are.”

    Bingo. Dawkins is a classic case of being able to dish it out but not take it. He’s the epitome of what you describe @10, the ugly face of atheism. I’m no atheist (nor theist either) and have always loathed his arrogant behaviour on that front, but since his attack on Rebecca Watson it’s become bleeding obvious that he’s a repellent, misogynist, racist PoS. I get the feeling nobody but him is allowed to have emotions; they’re not legitimate, least of all when it’s womenthings getting emotional about things that do incredible harm to our lives trivia.

    Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! @45

    That’s in response to an honor killing. How dare we talk about anything else? He’s using one woman’s murder to shut up other women. What a class act. Meanwhile Dawkins continues to talk about whatever the fuck he likes and not all of it or even most of it is about the plight of the only women he thinks can complain about misogyny.

    I don’t see the Dawkwit complaining about the, what, two? Three? women murdered by their intimate partners every week in the UK, every day in the US. No, it’s only sickening and offensive when it’s an honour killing, ie. done by one of those Nasty Brown Muslim Types. It’s the bigotries clustering thing again.

  42. John Horstman says

    Hemant is both rather missing the point of the actions of some of us and ignoring the people who have tried more conciliatory approaches to convince Dawkins. The problem with the latter is obvious, and the problem with the former is this: I’m certainly not trying to convince Dawks of anything (not that anyone particularly does or, for that matter, should care what I say, but I imagine some others are in similar positions). I’m trying to engineer a social discourse in which expressing anti-feminist ideas is met with contempt, ridicule, and shaming as a means of silencing the expression of such ideas (as we’ve done with things like overt racism or homophobia in some of our more enlightened contexts). As far as I can tell, hatred (or even slightly more benign sexism) needs to be taught, and if anti-feminist ideas are sufficiently marginalized, people who have not done so already will be unlikely to learn sexism (progressively – they’ll start just by not internalizing it as strongly, and I think we’re on that path already). As is frequently the case, it’s not really about the one instance or the one person, it’s about a systemic issue.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *